Christian Horner passes judgement on Ricciardo crash and RB battle after Tsunoda scores

Yuki Tsunoda has scored 100% of RB's points in the 2024 F1 season against Daniel Ricciardo

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Christian Horner backed Daniel Ricciardo to recover after a difficult start to the season against RB teammate Yuki Tsunoda after the Australian fell further behind in the intra-team battle at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Ricciardo collided with Alex Albon after just one corner at Suzuka, sending them both into the barriers and bringing out the red flags, which allowed Tsunoda to recover from a poor start and land his and RB‘s seventh point of the season.

The Honda protege became the first Japanese driver to score on home soil since Kamui Kobayashi in 2012, but Horner praised both RB drivers when reflecting on their contrasting fortunes at Suzuka.

“It felt like Daniel looked to the left, Alex is to the right, sort of a racing incident,” Horner told the media. “It’s a brutal place to go off and thankfully both of them are ok but from what I saw, difficult to apportion blame.

Daniel‘s a big boy, he’s been around the block and he knows how things work and I think he just needs to get a good result in the bag and then the smile will return. His teammate’s delivering and that naturally puts pressure on but he’s been there before. 

Yuki did a good job to score a point, it’s great for him, great for Honda, good for the VCARB team so pleased for them.”

Horner refuses to be drawn on Perez replacement

Tsunoda‘s strong early-season form has seen him linked with replacing Sergio Perez at Red Bull when the Mexican’s contract expires at the of 2024.

However, Perez‘s second place in qualifying and the race in Japan has dampened those rumours at least for a weekend, as he never looked in danger of losing Red Bull‘s third 1-2 in four races.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner and driver Sergio Perez after the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

And Tsunoda was far from the only candidate to put his case forward – Carlos Sainz is currently jobless for 2025 but marked his job application with another podium after overhauling Lando Norris teammate Charles Leclerc in the closing stages.

“Checo needs to just keep doing what he’s doing,” Horner added. “The whole driver market seems to be very early this year, everybody seems to be rushing around and we’re only four races into the year.

“So I think we’re not in any huge rush and obviously there’s a significant amount of interest in our cars as you’d expect but Checo has the priority and it’s going to be a few more races yet before we start to think about next year.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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